Cadastre and Registry: what to do if estate registers do not match

There are two real estate registers in Spain: the Cadastre, and the Land Registry. They are both meant to formally record characteristics of a property, but it is common for them not to match.

Inconsistencies are usually about surface area, volume, boundaries of the property, and even sometimes its location. This erodes a property’s legal security.

Let’s explore the differences between the Cadastre and the Land Registry. The former is an administrative register for the Ministry of Finance in which rustic and urban properties and properties with special characteristics are recorded. Unlike the Land Registry, registration on the Cadastre is compulsory and free of charge. Its main purpose is to monitor various taxes such as IBI, Inheritance and Gift Tax, or the Property Transfer Tax.

On the other hand, the Land Registry is a public service intended to record acts, contracts and judicial or administrative decisions that affect property rights, as well as certain judicial decisions that affect the capacity of individuals. It is meant to provide security in real estate transactions, as it includes all relevant information about the property: description, owner, and charges on an owner. Registration on the Land Registry is not compulsory, but it is highly advisable. As the Land Registry legally guarantees the ownership of a certain property, it trumps the Cadastre. If the information does not match when a property is being sold, the Land Registry overrules the Cadastre.

Inconsistencies between these registers can create time-consuming problems when trying to sell a property. If a discrepancy is detected, it is important to correct it. In order to avoid unnecessary work during a property transaction, we advise that you check that the details in these registries match as soon as possible. Luckily, with the 2015 Law in force today, doing so is a relatively simple process.

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